In love for years with the last bastion of the 'burg's eligible bachelors, Garrett Merrick, Cher worked hard at making him laugh. Being one of the guys. Having him in her life the only way she could. All this knowing he was in love with another woman.
The Merrick Family is known for loving deep. So when Cecelia Merrick was murdered, it marked the Merricks in a way none of them recovered. Both Cecelia's children found love. Both turned their backs on it. But Garrett "Merry" Merrick knew in his soul the woman he divorced years ago was the one for him.
Until the night when Cher took Garrett's back and things changed. The Merrick family loves deep. They also protect fiercely. And with his eyes finally open, Garrett sees the woman who truly is for him and he goes after her.
It is always an emotional thing when a favorite series comes to an end. It is even more emotional when the author has the ability to completely draw you into her worlds, make you feel like you are a part of the family, like what you are reading isn’t just words on paper, but that it is real. Kristen Ashley has been able to do all of those things and more for me ever since I first discovered her books years ago. When I was told I was selected for an ARC I was at the street fair, so totally something the Queen herself would be doing, I literally danced in the street embarrassing my husband. He just didn’t understand the excitement I had for Hold On being on my kindle before most of my friends.
Hold On brings us full circle. We met Cher in For You when she was the girlfriend of the psycho who was after February, we learned then that she had no idea what was going on and her luck with men really sucked. What we didn’t know was that beneath that tough girl exterior, was someone who had been burned by love more than once that she felt she wasn’t good enough for her own happily ever after.
Garrett, aka Merry we know has gone through his own hurt. He lost the love of his life when he pushed her away and divorced her. If you have read Golden Trail you know what happened to cause this but you don’t know it all. When Merry finds out his ex is moving on for good he doesn’t take it well and ends up at the bar where Cher is tending that night. He knows his friend will be there for him. Sometimes though, the person who you thought was the absolute one for you, the only one you would ever want ends up being the wrong person. It just takes something to happen to open up your eyes to see what is right in front of you.
The first 6% of the book had my feeling so many emotions; I had tears in my eyes for Cher after a certain scene. I wanted to just take her in my arms and say you are worthy of love. My heart hurt for her, my eyes stung with tears and I wished I could have taken that hit away from her. I wanted to hate Merry after that, for causing that pain. I’ve felt pain like that and I never want anyone, even a character in a book, to feel that type of pain. Merry does redeem himself in my eyes; it actually took me longer than any other of Ms. Ashley’s other males to win me over after they hurt their woman.
The epilogue, oh sweet baby Jesus that epilogue. If you are a fan of her books you know that Kristen Ashley is the queen of writing an epilogue that will not only wrap up the book, but show you that happily ever after does exist, and even after going through pain, that love will heal your wounds and allow you to have a beautiful life. I loved reading about all of the couples and their children at the end, it almost makes you think you are there for the event (not saying what event either). It was the perfect way to end a series that will always be a favorite for this reviewer.
Through this, my leg hit an end table and I adjusted. We cleared the couch, I shifted again too soon, both my calves hit the coffee table, and my ass went down on it.
I looked up. Cell flat to the table, I braced my hands to push up, but Merry was there, chin in his throat, eyes on me, and when he spoke again, his mind was clearly on my location.
“Tried to get your mouth on me more than once when we tore at each other up last Friday, but I was in the mood to use mine. Lookin’ forward to learnin’ what you can do with yours, but like I said, baby, right now, don’t got the time.”
My only response that he couldn’t twist was to glare at him, which was what I did.
“But got time before I go for a kiss,” Merry informed me.
“Only kiss I’ll give you is tellin’ you to kiss off,” I informed him.
“Who knew warm brown eyes like the ones you got could spark that kind of fire,” he muttered as if he wasn’t even talking to me.
“Step back,” I demanded.
“No,” he denied.
I continued to glare up at him, then I realized I was not the kind of woman who sat on her ass, glaring up at a man towering over her and pinning her in. So I stood, which put me smack in Merry’s space, my breasts brushing against his abs and up his chest on my way.
They kept brushing when he didn’t move back, but I didn’t attempt escape, even to get away from the shafts of electricity this all caused at my nipples, shafts that headed south.
I glared at him from closer.
He stared into my eyes, his gaze moving down to my mouth then back up as one side of his lips curved.
He was getting off on this.
I didn’t get that and I didn’t want to get that.
I wanted this done.
“In the mood to play, Officer?” I whispered.
“Told you, sweetheart, don’t got the time.”
I shook my head but held his gaze. “Not what I mean. Single mom, all alone. Switch out her storms. Offer info to help her out of a jam. Been a while since I was in the know about these things, so tell me, what’s the price for all that? You mentioned a blowjob. You got stamina, but I got talent. Balance that out, I’m thinkin’ it’ll take more than the usual ten, fifteen minutes. We’ll give it twenty. So I can manage my time, is there more?”
I wasn’t even done talking before I learned his eyes could spark fire too.
I also learned he was in the mood to play, that being, playing me at my own game.
And doing it better.
He dipped his face close, his voice low. “Storms get me the blowjob, brown eyes. I get the intel you need, that buys me sinkin’ deep in wet pussy.”
I felt my nipples get harder at the same time something else happened to me that, if he was of a mind to take his payoff right then, he’d get what he wanted.
I hid this reaction and asked, “You want this all in one go, or you wanna spread payback out for a while?”
“Keep plenty of time open, Cher. I intend to earn a fuckuva lot more and draw it out collecting.”
I nodded, still keeping a lock on his eyes. “I get it. Girl like me, only payback expected for me to be able to give.”
That didn’t get me fire.
That got me ice.
“I hear you talk down about yourself one more time, Cher, shit will get extreme.”
That made me ice over.
“Do not hand me that crap, Merry. You come into my home and got no problem talkin’ about wet pussy right to my face tells me the woman you know me to be.”
He dipped his face even closer, to the point it felt like if I blinked, my lashes would sweep his in a butterfly kiss.
“Do not hand me your shit, Cher,” he growled. “That hang-up is yours, not mine. And how I know that is I made you come just finger fuckin’ you and talkin’ dirty in your ear, and it was the talk and not what my fingers were doin’ that took you there. I like that, a woman who can let go and let me give her that without gettin’ uptight and closin’ down on me. You liked it too, a fuckuva lot more than me. So don’t stand there handin’ me your shit when I know you’re wet for me now and I haven’t fuckin’ touched you.”
I refused to reply to that because he was right and I had no intention of confirming that information.
But it was then he hit me with a verbal blow, the intensity of which, not in my whole shitty-ass life I’d ever received.
“Christ, if I didn’t know you were worth it, I’d walk out the door and this would be done—all we got, over.”
I could stand.
I could stare.
But I couldn’t breathe.
He could also speak.
“Hope like fuck no one takes off with those storms while I’m gone. You think they will, move ’em into garage and leave the key under the mat. I’m switchin’ ’em out, Cher. I come back tonight and they’re done, I’ll find you, and I won’t be collectin’. I’ll be dishin’ it out, but you won’t get it until you beg for it and do that shit for a really long time.”
His words were lost on me.
I continued to stand.
I continued to stare.
But my lungs had started burning.
If I didn’t know you were worth it…
“When’s Ethan’s next sleepover?” Merry bit out.
“Friday,” I whispered. “But his friend’s comin’ here.”
“Fuck,” Merry clipped. “Find a time, babe. You don’t, payback’ll stack up and I’ll have to take personal days and hole up in a hotel with you for a week. And there’s not a doubt that stick-up-her-ass church lady your ex tied his shit to won’t appreciate you bein’ gone from your kid for a weeklong fuckathon.”
That was kind of funny as well as hot.
I still said nothing.
Merry fell silent and stared at me.
Then he dealt the second biggest verbal blow I’d ever received in my life.
“Christ, you’re pretty, even standin’ there plotting my murder.”
After that, he lifted a hand, grabbed me gentle but firm at my neck, yanked me up so my mouth hit his hard but brief, then he let me go.
“Later, babe,” he said, strolling to my door. He stopped in it, turned to me, and bid his farewell by saying, “You touch those storms only to put them in the garage.”
He closed the door on that.
I stood where he left me.
If I didn’t know you were worth it…
What was I worth?
What was I worth to Merry?